The government of Nepal has drafted a proposal that requires their high-ranking public officials to exclusively use electric vehicles for their daily commuting, the Kathmandu Post reports.

This recommendation of transport usage for the country’s government officials has come from an internal committee of the ministry, says Nepal transport ministry joint secretary Mani Ram Bhusal. “The government is spending a huge budget over these vehicles every year,” Bhusal said.

“Although the initial investment for buying EVs will be higher, expenses on fuel will be saved and maintenance will be cheaper. Most importantly, the message for the promotion of EVs will go out loud and clear,” the joint secretary added.

This proposal needs to be approved by the cabinet before coming into force, and it also makes it mandatory for said government officials to provide ‘a solid reason’ for not being able to commute in environmentally friendly vehicles if they cannot begin use of EVs, the report said.

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The National Planning Commission (NPC) became the first government agency in the country in 2017 to purchase an electric vehicle as part of an effort to replace the internal combustion engine-powered vehicles currently in the government fleet. This was followed by the purchase of an EV by the president’s office in a symbolic gesture for the promotion of eco-friendly vehicles in the country, the report added.

Policies and action plans have been put forth by the Nepal government for the promotion of EVs in the country, however progress has been mostly held back by the lack of infrastructure for the support of electrified mobility in the country, the Kathmandu Post noted, with the lack of charging stations being the key obstacle to the growth of the EV volume.

“If government officials start using EVs then there will be charging stations at vehicle parking stations as well. Even the public can use such charging stations by paying some amount; it will definitely accelerate the infrastructure development (for) EVs,” said the president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Nepal (EVAN), Umesh Shrestha.